Man­dela team are climb­ing for our school­girls

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TEBOGO MONAMA

THE Trek4Man­dela team were on the same flight to Tan­za­nia as Nel­son Man­dela’s widow, Graça Machel.

When the flight touched down on Tan­za­nian soil, Machel told the hik­ers it was a good omen that they had shared the flight.

She wished them well be­fore the group con­tin­ued from the cap­i­tal, Dar es Salaam, on their trip to Marangu where they were due to be­gin their trek up Mount Kil­i­man­jaro to­day.

Yes­ter­day, the team en­joyed a rest day be­fore at­tend­ing a fi­nal brief­ing with their team leader, ex­plorer Sibu­siso Vi­lane.

One of the other vet­eran hik­ers on the trail is Arthur Mars­den, who has sum­mited Kil­i­man­jaro three times and is an ex­pe­ri­enced GrandSlam ad­ven­turer.

He has sum­mited seven peaks, in ad­di­tion to the one-man jour­ney to both the North and South Pole.

This year, for Lib­erty’s 60-year an­niver­sary, he has teamed up with the Nel­son Man­dela Foun­da­tion and the Im­bumba Foun­da­tion to try to raise funds for about 600 school­girls.

Mars­den said he hoped to raise R216 000 in six days, which trans­lates into R36 000 a day. It will take the team six days to com­plete the trek. Mars­den said suc­ceed­ing was like climb­ing a moun­tain… you need phys­i­cal and men­tal stamina.

“For women, it’s just a bit harder. When read­ing the sta­tis­tics stat­ing that less than 2% of girls make it to ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion, in part be­cause of some­thing as sim­ple as hav­ing no san­i­tary prod­ucts, the re­al­ity re­ally hits home,” he said.

“When a girl child misses nearly 50 days a year of school, it has far-reach­ing im­pli­ca­tions, in turn lead­ing to fewer fe­male lead­ers in our busi­nesses and board­rooms,” Mars­den added.

He said the cause was also close to his heart be­cause he has two daugh­ters. “As men, it is vi­tal that we take a stand and do ev­ery­thing in our power to bring dig­nity to our girls so they can grow up to be suc­cess­ful women who power our na­tion.”

GOOD OMEN: Graça Machel, widow of Nel­son Man­dela, was on the same flight to Tan­za­nia’s cap­i­tal, Dar es Salaam, as the Trek4Man­dela group climb­ing Mt Kil­i­man­jaro.

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